On November 24, 2016, Keith Kuhl, President of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), provided testimony to the Canadian Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. As part of this consultation, Mr. Kuhl delivered the following messages in regards to the government’s Next Agricultural Policy Framework:
Business risk management
AgriStability provides financial support when a producer sees a large margin decline. Canadian producers want access to this support without having to suffer such poor margins. CHC is requesting that producers have access to the support if their current year margin is 85% of their reference margin, rather than 70%.
AgriInvest is a savings account that allows producers to set money aside, and towards which the government contributes a percentage of the producer’s sales. Producers can use these savings to manage expenses during small income shortfalls. CHC is requesting that the government increase its basic maximum contribution to 4.5% of a producer’s sales, and to eliminate caps on government payments. Producers also need more flexibility on removing their own funds first on pre-approved investments.
Research and innovation
AgriInnovation is critically important to producers. CHC is requesting that the government increase funding support for research and innovation with an enhanced commitment to the produce sector. This includes expanded research and financial support in bio-technology and paying particular attention to good pest management practices, while reducing long and complex regulatory processes that negatively impact competitiveness. There is strong industry support to continue cost-shared funding at the current 75% government and 25% industry levels.
CHC is requesting that climate change measures not place the horticultural sector at a disadvantage. In the Next Agricultural Policy Framework, we want to ensure that there is federal funding that will address adaptation programs and ensure adequate support towards the resiliency and environmental sustainability of the industry.
As part of his testimony, Mr. Kuhl also commented on labour, trade and public trust. To hear the full presentation, listen to the audio clip (duration: 10m 34s).